How to Prepare for a Career in Law Enforcement

October 1st, 2015 by

Police DetectiveWhether you want to find a career that is fulfilling and exciting, you make job stability a priority or you want to make your community a safer place to live, a career in law enforcement might be the right path for you. To achieve you goal of working in law enforcement, you will need to prepare.

These are the best ways to prepare for the career you want in law enforcement:

Investigate the Range of Law Enforcement Careers

One of the most important ways to prepare for a career in law enforcement is to better understand the various positions that exist within the field. When most people think of law enforcement, they immediately think of police officers.

While it is true that police officers are absolutely law enforcement professionals, they are not the only ones in the category.

If you decide to pursue a career in law enforcement, just some of your potential options include border patrol agent, ATF agent, customs agent, consultant for the DEA, secret service agent, private investigator, forensic scientist, counter terrorism professional and K9 officer.

Believe it or not, that is far from a comprehensive list. Whether you are interested in the psychology of criminals, working in a lab to solve crimes or stopping terrorism before it happens, there may be a job out there that is perfect for you.

Understand Potential Eligibility Requirements

The next step is to determine whether you will be eligible for a career in law enforcement. After all, you don’t want to spend four years completing an online bachelor’s degree and then find out that your dream job is out of reach for some reason.

One of the most common reasons that aspiring law enforcement professionals are not hired is because of their background, particularly if they were involved with illegal activity. In addition, be sure that you can pass a background check and that you are willing to meet any physical requirements, which can vary from job to job.

Depending on the career you choose, you might also have to take an application exam or complete on-the-job or police academy training, which can take several months.

Earn a Degree in Criminal Justice

Perhaps the most effective way to prepare for a career in law enforcement is to earn a college degree. Many law enforcement careers require applicants to have an associate or a bachelor’s degree, and having a relevant major is ideal. If you are committed to law enforcement, then consider earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

This degree typically takes four years to complete, and a sampling of the classes you can expect include police administration, criminology, juvenile rehabilitation and corrections management. Thankfully, you don’t have to attend classes on a college campus in order to earn this degree.

You can study criminal justice through an accredited online college, giving you the flexibility to work, study or raise a family all at the same time.

A career in law enforcement can be a fantastic choice for your future. To prepare, consider this guide and determine whether you’re willing to take the necessary steps to secure your dream law enforcement position.

Explore the online degrees you can earn through an accredited college or university.


About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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